Interview with William J. Meyer

William J. Meyer

Interview Date: 10/4/2012


William J. Meyer is a filmmaker and author. His work has appeared in feature films, shorts, television spots, and music videos. He wrote and directed the short film THE HOUSE THAT JACK BUILT, an award-winning fairy tale romance. He is also the author of FIRE ON THE MOUND, a weekly fantasy-adventure podcast novel read by Steve Rudolph with an original score by William Seegers.

When did you start writing, and was there a significant event that prompted you to do so?

Although currently I am writing prose and screenplays, I think it really began when I started creating comic books in grade school with a group of friends. We had our own universe. We each did a character of our own, and then brought them together for a cross-over. I think we charged each other a quarter per issue. So basically we traded a quarter around as everyone bought everyone else’s comic book. I still remember my character, Dr. Green. He was some-sort of mutant frog man. At the time my family lived on the Wolf river in Wisconsin, so perhaps Dr. Green leapt from those waters. I wrote short stories throughout high school, but I did not write with regularity, or in longer forms, until college. Though now that I say that I remember an unfinished novel I started in high school about a retired detective living in Yorkshire.

If you could have one superpower, what would it? (Assuming said power would be reasonably powerful.)

If I could only choose one power, I think the most recent X-MEN film has shown just how versatile Magneto’s mastery over magnetism can be, so perhaps I would go with that!

Kev's response: Aye, that's a great multipurpose power.

Do you have a favorite superhero from novels, comics, or movies?

Spider-man, by a long shot. The first comic I bought with my own money was THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #242. It has a great cover. Spider-man is jumping upside down, avoiding a robot that’s shooting some kind of plasma fire. Awesome. Later I discovered the original Stan Lee and Steve Ditko stories, and then up through the Gerry Conway, Gil Kane, and John Romita era. These comics have a tremendous influence on me insomuch as Peter Parker is a wonderfully tragic figure, always down on his luck, even responsible for the death of his loved ones, Uncle Ben and his girlfriend Gwen Stacy. Yet, through all this, the early stories still convey an unbridled ebullience. I hope one day to achieve that rare combination of tragedy and joy.

Kev's response: I still recall the McFarlane issues of Spider-Man. He did a wonderful job of bringing the art to a new level.

Where do you get your inspiration for writing? What motivates you?

My inspiration always comes from my family. I am motivated by the desire to intensify and clarify human emotions through my storytelling.

Do you pre-plan your stories, or are you a by-the-seat-of-the-pants style writer?

Well, I generally plot out the major beats of a story or script but only discover the depth of the characters through the actual writing. Before I begin I have a map, but it is incomplete. Generally I write the ending first, to create a target.

Do you write only when inspired, or do you have a set schedule where you sit down to write?

That may be the only division between an amateur and a professional, as far as I’m concerned. Regardless of one’s chosen medium. True inspiration happens during the work. It is never the impetus. But I should say going for a walk in the countryside is a fine way to work on a story. :)

Do you have a favorite genre to write in? To read?

Not really. Genre is just a differently styled raiment for the same body: human relationships. I’ve written Westerns, sci-fi, fantasy, and some contemporary drama. It’s just a matter of which milieu best underscores, or counterpoints, the relationships I want to create.

What do you enjoy the most about writing?

Exploring the things that bother me, as the well as the things that bring me joy. Plus, discovering bits you never knew existed when you set out. It’s crazy when a character makes a demand of you! Especially when you resist where they want to go.

Is there any part of writing that you don't enjoy?

Typing. I prefer to write long-hand. But no one can read my hand-writing, so unfortunately I am the only one who can type it up. :(

Kev's response: Nice. :)

Can you tell me something odd about yourself?

I like to smell books. But those of us who do this do not consider it odd!

Kev's response: Not to point out a correlation, but I'm sure that many people in an asylum don't believe what they do to be odd. >:) Evil masterminds certainly don't think their plotting is odd.

Do you write one story at a time, or do you have several novels in the works at one time?

More often than not I am working on one novel or screenplay full-force while just taking notes or writing a bit of dialogue for another.

Where do you see the future as far as paper books versus digital e-books?

Personally, I have a difficult time reading on a display. The ritual of reading a physical book will not vanish, though eBooks will continue to evolve and incorporate more multimedia as they become another portal to the collective consciousness of the web. But I take great comfort that Spock gave Kirk a physical book for his birthday in STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN, and not just a colored plastic wafer labelled “The Collected Works of Charles Dickens.”

What are your current projects?

I am still editing episodes of my podcast audio series FIRE ON THE MOUND. I wrote the novel several years ago, and rather than self-publish, I thought this would be a fun way to share the story. Vocal talent Steve Rudolph read and recorded the book. Then a composer, William Seegers, wrote an original score and created individual themes for the characters. I’m producing and editing the podcast version, adding sound effects and so on. Each episode runs roughly thirty minutes per week. We’re on episode eight as of this interview. It really is a benefit to hear one’s prose read aloud. Restructuring the story for another medium also reveals what works and what doesn’t. I discovered the audio version didn’t need to be simply chapter one then chapter two and so on, until the end. There’s an opportunity for a lot more cross-cutting between locations and characters. The music also adds another layer of vitality to the fantasy world, as does Steve’s reading. My over-all direction to him was, “Read it like a grandfathe r telling a story around a fire.” I am also writing, with a writing partner, a new historical screenplay about the early days of space travel. And I am in various stages of production on a couple short films.

Kev's response: That sounds like a neat and creative idea.

Do you have any online sites where readers can find out more about you (and your books)?

FIRE ON THE MOUND has its own site that includes videos and free subscriptions: The book also has a Facebook page that includes maps and artwork: And you can follow us on Twitter!

Kev's response: William, thank you much for joining me! Good fortune on your novels, and on the podcast.

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